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Well, if you waited until after normal Thursday trading to catch Intel Corp's (INTC - Analyst Report) Q4 earnings report, you missed it. The chip giant and Dow component generated another positive earnings surprise after the bell -- er, just before the bell -- by posting EPS of 48 cents per quarter on $13.53 billion in revenues. Both numbers beat expectations.

They didn't beat the Zacks Consensus Estimates of 45 cents and $13.2 billion, respectively, by a heck of a lot, but this is pretty much besides the point. Not only have we seen Intel lose out to competitors in the smartphone chipset market over past quarters, but Microsoft's (MSFT - Analyst Report) Windows 8 failed to give traction to the PC market in the quarter, which is where Intel remains a leader.

Oh, and don't forget the pre-earnings sentiment that Tech was going down the tubes. Intel becomes the latest in a growing group of Tech beats this quarter, which includes eBay (EBAY - Analyst Report) and Juniper (JNPR - Analyst Report) yesterday.

Let's also not lose sight of the fact that Intel has outperformed for the last 5 quarters in a row -- including Q3's very nice 20% beat -- by an average of roughly 8%. Not bad for a dinosaur.

The conference call will be starting in a few minutes, assuming they haven't jumped the gun and started it already, and analysts will be looking closely at Intel's guidance numbers, as well as how its Data Center segment has performed relative to its other businesses. Its plans for gaining share in the mobile market will obviously be key, as will information pertaining to its new Haswell platform.

For now, though shares are trading down for INTC in the after-market, Intel is cresting at YTD-highs, and there may be more to come if we see positive guidance. For now, Intel shares have a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and a corresponding Neutral recommendation.

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